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Brian W.

Brian W.

Joined on 04/06/01

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 18
Most Favorable Review

Excellent, as always

Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (with Red/Green Light) Model BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT2TXRG
Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (with Red/Green Light) Model BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT2TXRG

Pros: No defects in the 4 sticks I bought. Stable and cool (~38 deg. C) under the Passmark stress test. No trouble running at advertised speeds on an Intel DZ77BH-55K mobo. The "Mod" utility (www.crucial.com/mod) works well and doesn't need to be memory resident or even installed after the LEDs are to your liking. The utility lets you control the colors and patterns of the individual sticks of RAM. I bought a pair of red/green and a pair of blue/orange, and together I can make the inside of my case look like a psychedelic rainbow (if I wanted to). There are LEDs pointing down and up. The downward LEDs are always steady on. The upward LEDs are the activity LEDs that move around due to memory activity. The downward and upward LED sets each have their own color option. So, for example, you could light up the motherboard red and have the activity lights be green.

Cons: Not really a con, but it did make me nervous to push on the heat sinks in order to seat the RAM. There was no other way to do it as far as I could tell. It didn't cause a problem though. Apparently Crucial uses a strong adhesive!

Overall Review: Note that these are the red/green sticks (hence the RG at the end of the product code). There are 4 LED activity patterns to choose from: 1) Lava - LEDs seem to go crazy at this setting, blinking on and off rapidly and randomly. 2) Stereo - Think "stereo equalizer". You get "steady on" lights in the middle of the RAM. They bounce outward (and back in) rapidly during activity. Kind of a cool effect. 3) Stream - Think "wave". Lights move in one direction, like a wave. Wave moves faster with more activity. 4) Inside out - Like the Stream mode, but lights start in the middle and move outward toward the edges.

Most Critical Review

Terrible for gamers

ASUS AC1900 Wi-Fi Dual-band 3x3 Gigabit Wireless Router with AiProtection Network Security Powered by Trend Micro, AiMesh Whole Home Wi-Fi System Compatible (RT-AC68U)
ASUS AC1900 Wi-Fi Dual-band 3x3 Gigabit Wireless Router with AiProtection Network Security Powered by Trend Micro, AiMesh Whole Home Wi-Fi System Compatible (RT-AC68U)

Pros: Everything I tried (other than Quality of Service functionality) seemed to work properly.

Cons: I'm a gamer. I need great pings all the time, regardless of who is downloading what file, or what kind of video streaming is going on in my busy house. This router advertises Quality of Service (QoS), both in a newer "adaptive" form that is supposed to be aware of the traffic type, as well as a "traditional" form where you have to manually set up all of the priorities, which quickly becomes tedious and time-consuming with even a mild number of new games/applications per year. So, here's the story: old router (D-LINK DGL-5500) was having trouble and we can't have the house off the Net for weeks waiting for an RMA return, so I buy this router, update the firmware to the latest version (4585), configure the router, and turn on Adaptive QoS (setting the download/upload speeds for my network). I set Gaming to the highest priority, and web surfing/file downloads to the lowest. In testing, I downloaded a file from a website or a game via Steam. As soon as I started the download, my kids, playing different games on different computers, immediately had terrible lag. I tried a 3rd game on my computer with the same result. So I stopped the download and the lag immediately went away. "Okay", I thought, "I just need to set my network bandwidth in the QoS settings to be a bit lower to give an extra buffer for the games". So I reduced the download speed by 10mbit per second and the upload by 0.5 mbit per second. Tested again, and again, immediate and terrible lag for all gamers. So... I tested the "traditional" method of QoS using the default settings (which claim to be good for gamers), but with also setting browsing to low priority. Again, terrible lag using the correct download/upload speeds for my network or using reduced speeds. I even tried a third party firmware (DD-WRT), turned on QoS, and while it was better, it wasn't good by any means. Gameplay was still jumpy at times and not much fun. So, while this router may be good for non-gamers, it is terrible in its current form for gamers. I have already bought another DLINK DGL-5500 to replace my old one. The DGL-5500 works amazingly well with its Streamboost tech; you just turn it on and NEVER have lag in any game regardless of what else is downloading on the network.

Overall Review: Didn't buy this at Newegg because I needed it immediately, but I needed to tell my Newegg brethren how terrible this thing is for gamers. If you're a gamer, buy the D-Link DGL-5500.

High quality. Sounds great!

Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Channel Surround Sound System
Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Channel Surround Sound System

Pros: Sound is a great upgrade from my previous speakers. Build quality is high. The cone protectors are attached with magnets, so they're easy to remove. Subwoofer has a nice feature where it can turn itself off unless it detects a signal.

Cons: Some people reported problems with using the subwoofer in wireless mode, but I'm using it wired and it has worked flawlessly.

Overall Review: I highly recommend this speaker system, especially if you can get it for less than $300 on sale.

Streamboost is just awesome

D-Link Wireless AC Gaming Router - 1300 Mbps, Dual-Band, Gigabit, StreamBoost traffic shaping (DGL-5500)
D-Link Wireless AC Gaming Router - 1300 Mbps, Dual-Band, Gigabit, StreamBoost traffic shaping (DGL-5500)

Pros: Streamboost works flawlessly. Turn it on and you NEVER get lag in any game, regardless of what is downloading on the network (video streaming, Steam downloads, web browser downloads, Windows updates, etc.). I can saturate my bandwidth with non-game downloads, and yet gaming on multiple machines continues without a hitch.

Cons: First one started acting flaky after 1 1/2 years of service, but it's still under warranty so no big deal. Otherwise, the latest firmware seems to have made the GUI more responsive and the network status screens more reliable.

Overall Review: This is my second review of this product, but it has been 2 years since the first, and considering how awesome this router is compared to the terrible Asus RT-AC68 I tried (which is supposed to be a very good router), I thought this deserved another thumbs up.

Excellent

Logitech Z523 40 Watts RMS 2.1 Speaker System
Logitech Z523 40 Watts RMS 2.1 Speaker System

Pros: I own 2 of these speaker systems. They produce excellent sound, and the controls are convenient being on the right speaker. It is also nice to be able to plug headphones into the right speaker and have the speakers automatically mute. When headphones are plugged in, the volume can be adjusted with the speaker's volume knob, although the bass cannot be controlled.

Cons: none

Overall Review: The speakers were packaged extremely well. They were well protected, but better than that, someone put a lot of thought into making them easy to unpack. For example, the tape was folded on the ends to make it easy to pull off without tools. Packaging seems like a small thing, but when you're unpacking a lot of boxes it's a welcomed aid.

Excellent fan

Cooler Master Hyper TX3 - CPU Cooler with 3 Direct Contact Heatpipes
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 - CPU Cooler with 3 Direct Contact Heatpipes

Pros: Well made, but simple, which keeps the price down. Nice and quiet when fan runs <= 2k RPM. Installation was a breeze for my Ivy Bridge CPU. The instructions are easy to understand. For socket 1155, it uses the 4 push pin method. Just make sure the heads of the pins are rotated opposite the arrows printed on the heads during installation. The arrows are there to tell you how to take the heatsink off.

Cons: none

Overall Review: On my Intel DZ77BH-55K mobo, my Intel 3770 CPU with Arctic Silver heat sink compound idles at 38 deg. C with the fan at ~1k RPM. Under the Passmark stress test, the CPU got up to 60 deg. C and held steady, even with the fan still blowing at only 1k RPM. I'm happy about this, as 60 deg. C is well within the spec of the CPU (which can safely handle up to 85 deg. C). I'd rather have the machine quiet than super cool, though my mobo lets me adjust the fans so I could make it cooler at the cost of fan noise.